100 Creatives

Why Glendale Artist Josh Brizuela Stands by the 10,000 Hour Rule

Every other year, New Times puts the spotlight on Phoenix's creative forces — painters, dancers, designers, and actors. Leading up to the release of Best of Phoenix, we're taking a closer look at 100 more. Welcome to the 2016 edition of 100 Creatives. Up today is 21. Josh Brizuela.

Josh Brizuela just might take over the city.

Also known as Bask, the Glendale-based artist gained a following through his online presence before debuting his work in a brick-and-mortar setting during a First Friday showing back in 2013. Since then, his work has grown creatively by leaps and bounds. So, too, have his canvases. 

"I can say that small sketches are now rare for me," the 23-year-old says. "I've been working on bigger pieces nonstop, and it's so fun."

That's meant more murals and large-scale works that don't sacrifice Brizuela's eye for detail. His pieces often portray beastly creatures in surreal strokes and splotches — snarling kittens meshed with jagged teeth and elephant feet in saturated pastels.

"I translate sounds into colors," Brizuela says, cheekily citing his inspirations as big money, big booty, and artists better than him. "My work is meditative. Nothing is planned when I go in and draw from the place it all comes from."

Earlier this year, Brizuela had another art show downtown. His friend Jorge Torres hosted Brizuela's "Out of the Blue" during the grand opening of Torres' relocated Palabra, a gallery space, artist collective, and hair salon. "We've taught each other a lot, and it was awesome to reveal our visions together," Brizuela says. "That place is awesome."

Being able to track his progress by looking back on past pieces is key for the creative. It keeps him motivated — and serves as a journal of sorts. "I'm able to remember all that I was feeling when I look back on old work," he says. "The people who buy my work are actually the coolest, too — they're always catching things that I forgot I hid in the pieces. They definitely keep me motivated pretty much whenever I need it."

I came to Phoenix covered in vernix caseosa.

I make art as a
practiced form of escapism. Especially during the summer.

I'm most productive when I find a great new album. My wrists go on autopilot. I'm able to relax as part of my brain translates music to colors and leaves the rest able to clearly think.

My (blue) inspiration wall is full of works from my favorite artists and photographers:

—Joseph Maddon *
— Richard Douglas *
— Craig Gleason *
— Jeremy Nichols
— Jaylon Israel Hicks **

**"Impossible impossible impossible is dead
I killed impossible with the thoughts in my head
I looked it in the eye and choked it to death
Now nothing is impossible except impossible's breath"
(This is what Jaylon's poem says. He's a legend.)
*local to arizona

All of those are hung around a print of my favorite piece from the Phoenix Art Museum: Pollice verso by Jean-Leon Gerome. On another wall I have a bunch of model gundams I built and some toys from Japan.

I've learned most from staying quiet and listening to myself. This year, I've reverted back to believing every single idea that comes to me and running with it instead of combatting it. Like kids do. Can't tell me nothing.

Good work should always stutter the viewer by giving something new among a mundane day. Good artwork should better the community. Probably should make you want to wander in the woods as well.

The Phoenix creative scene could use more practiced talent and powerful buyers. I think artists should put in their 10,000 hours before they come outside!

The 2016 Creatives so far:

100. Nicole Olson
99. Andrew Pielage
98. Jessica Rowe
97. Danny Neumann
96. Beth Cato
95. Jessie Balli
94. Ron May
93. Leonor Aispuro
92. Sarah Waite
91. Christina "Xappa" Franco
90. Christian Adame
89. Tara Sharpe
88. Patricia Sannit
87. Brian Klein
86. Dennita Sewell
85. Garth Johnson
84. Charissa Lucille
83. Ryan Downey
82. Samantha Thompson
81. Cherie Buck-Hutchison
80. Freddie Paull
79. Jennifer Campbell
78. Dwayne Hartford
77. Shaliyah Ben
76. Kym Ventola
75. Matthew Watkins
74. Tom Budzak
73. Rachel Egboro
72. Rosemary Close
71. Ally Haynes-Hamblen
70. Alex Ozers
69. Fawn DeViney
68. Laura Dragon
67. Stephanie Neiheisel
66. Michael Lanier
65. Jessica Rajko
64. Velma Kee Craig
63. Oliver Hibert
62. Joya Scott
61. Raji Ganesan
60. Ashlee Molina
59. Myrlin Hepworth
58. Amy Ettinger
57. Sheila Grinell
56. Forrest Solis
55. Mary Meyer
54. Robert Hoekman Jr.
53. Joan Waters
52. Gabriela Muñoz
51. ColorOrgy
50. Liz Magura
49. Anita and Sam Means
48. Liz Ann Hewett
47. Tiffany Fairall
46. Vanessa Davidson
45. Michelle Dock
44. Nia Witherspoon
43. Monique Sandoval
42. Nayon Iovino
41. Daniel Davisson
40. Andrew King
39. Michelle Moyer
38. Jimmy Nguyen
37. Tiffany Lopez
36. Kristin Bauer
35. Donna Isaac
34. Douglas Miles
33. Sierra Joy
32. Francisco Flores
31. Amy Robinson
30. Julio Cesar Morales
29. Duane Daniels
28. Kelsey Pinckney
27. Ben Smith
26. Rembrandt Quiballo
25. Corinne Geertsen
24. Tess Mosko Scherer
23. Slawomir Wozniak
22. Elly Finzer
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Becky Bartkowski is an award-winning journalist and the arts and music editor at New Times, where she writes about art, fashion, and pop culture.
Contact: Becky Bartkowski